Bill Johnson's Fight Against Lung Cancer: Advocating for Continuous Radon Monitoring
In January 2024, the Ecosense team gathered with Bill Johnson, a 44-year-old resident of Park City, Utah. Bill generously opened up about his daily battle against an unforeseen lung cancer diagnosis. Bill, a father of two boys, living a healthy lifestyle, began seeking answers to the question:
"Why am I facing lung cancer when I've never smoked and have stayed active all my life?"
His quest for answers led him to an unsettling discovery—the profound connection between his well-being and prolonged exposure to high levels of radon gas in his home. Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that poses a silent threat. Yet, Bill's journey highlighted a crucial realization: the importance of continuous radon monitoring.
Through his firsthand experience, Bill found that employing EcoQube provided him with valuable insights into his home's radon levels year-round, revealing the fluctuations that occur daily and seasonally, ensuring proactive protection for his health and well-being.
Ecosense: How would you describe your lifestyle before being diagnosed with lung cancer?
Bill: Park City, Utah is a world-renowned ski resort town in the Wasatch mountains. It promotes an active lifestyle and before my diagnosis, I made it a point to embrace this lifestyle. Exercising daily via trail running, mountain biking, skiing, and most importantly a busy parent to two young boys. To perform these activities at elevation, a healthy diet was required and smoking would have inhibited those activities and was never an option.
Ecosense: What led to your lung cancer diagnosis?
Bill: My cancer journey began with back pain, which I initially attributed to the physical strain of shoveling snow during the record-breaking 2022/2023 winter. When I was finally diagnosed, cancer had already progressed significantly, and the doctors used the chilling term “wildly metastasized lung cancer”. This blindsided me because I never had a persistent cough, shortness of breath, or any of the classic symptoms that are often associated with lung cancer.
Ecosense: How did you make the connection of your lung cancer to radon gas?
Bill: Again, because of my active and healthy lifestyle, my family and I were searching for answers as to how this diagnosis originated. When we first moved into our house 14 years ago, we did an initial radon test and after a week, tossed the generic test kit in the garbage. The result showed we were safe and we never thought of radon again, especially given our home's new construction.
As we researched additional lung cancer causes, Radon was the only potential cause that made sense. Given Utah's substantial uranium content in the soil, radon levels across the state remain notably high.
"The only consistent data I was able to find was that radon is the major cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and is responsible for 16.5% of all lung cancer deaths"
While hospitalized for two months, my wife bought an EcoQube and began testing our house and gathering multiple data points.
Ecosense: What were the initial radon levels in your house and how long have you lived there?
Bill: We have been living in our current house for 14 years and only tested the radon initially via a disposable test kit until June of 2023. While initially, the house was reading at safe levels, this changed once fall kicked into gear and the house began to be winterized. In June the readings hovered between 1.0 to 2.0 pCi/L, by October 2023 this changed to 1.1 to 4.0 pCi/L. This made sense as in the summer months our windows are generally open throughout the house providing natural ventilation.
"During cold weather when we heat the house and keep the windows closed, I see consistent fluctuations of radon levels"
The radon data does consistently spike during the evenings and peaks in the middle of the night.
Ecosense: What message do you want to convey to your neighbors, Utah residents, and everybody?
Bill: To all residents of Utah, I urge you to prioritize continuous radon monitoring in your homes. Again, take the next step towards safety, and instead of doing a one-time radon test choose ongoing monitoring. This proactive measure is crucial in mitigating the risk of lung cancer long-term.
"Cancer respects no boundaries, but radon exposure can indeed be prevented"
Take the proactive step to monitor radon levels continuously, and if necessary, undertake measures to professionally mitigate radon in your home. Let's not overlook the severity of the lung cancer battle. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and safeguard your health and the health of your loved ones.
Left: Bill Johnson with his EcoQube. Right: Bill Johnson and Ecosense team during this interview.
Ecosense: How do you want to help affordable housing projects?
Bill: Education and assistance in obtaining and setting up radon monitoring units in all affordable housing units. This is our community workforce and they are continually struggling financially to survive, radon awareness and monitoring will need to be streamlined to accommodate their busy schedules. In addition, providing resources to the developers on mitigation solutions for this important housing stock.
I am thrilled to announce our Radon-Free campaign with Ecosense. This collaboration not only allows me to offer discounts to friends and family but also enables anyone to support affordable housing through their purchases.
"For every 5 times my promo code is used, Ecosense generously donates a radon monitoring device."
My objective is to allocate these donations to Park City and Summit County Affordable Housing so that residents can enjoy the same peace of mind I experience with my EcoQube. In the event of high radon levels, prompt action can mitigate the associated risks, ensuring the safety and well-being of our community.
Ecosense: Why do you think so highly of the EcoQube?
Bill: So many wonderful things about the EcoQube. The ease of setup for all users, and app data summaries are extremely helpful. I really like the size of the unit for residential use, it doesn’t take up very much space and the minimal design does not attract attention in the home.
One of its most valuable features is the intuitive light indicator, which switches to green when home air quality levels are safe, transitions to yellow when conditions become less optimal, and turns red to signal potential danger. This real-time feedback empowers users like myself with a sense of control and awareness over indoor air quality. Seeing the green light offers peace of mind, while the red prompts immediate action such as ventilation to address any concerns. Most importantly, the price is on point for all users.